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Re: Switching kernel drivers to userland microcode loading, and 'contrib'

Scripsit "J.D. Hood" <jdthood@yahoo.co.uk>

> Suppose we have a device that requires non-free software to do anything
> useful.  We have moved the non-free software binaries to non-free and we
> are left with a nice blob-free driver in the kernel source tree.  Let's
> say: "This driver doesn't require the non-free software to function.
> After all, with no non-free software at all it can do everything it is
> supposed to do, including loading software into the device.  It's the
> _device_ that requires the non-free software."

We don't need to go to that level of sophistry. Instead we can say,
truthfully, that the *kernel* does not requret non-free software to
function. The fact that certain pieces of non-free software can make
the kernel do *more* than it can do without it, is not grounds for
making the entire kernel contrib, as long as the kernel without the
blobs is indeed useful for many users.

The only problem left is in actually coding things to make it work
seamlessly enough not to be useless for many users. As I understand,
kernels 2.6.x has some standard support for loading firmware, called
somthing like request_firmware.  Do we have any packages with userland
support for this in Debian?

Henning Makholm                                    "*Vi vil ha wienerbrød!*"

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